The group behind the REvil ransomware strain have threatened to release confidential Apple hardware schematics unless the tech giant, or its supplier, pays a sizeable ransom fee.
The notorious group claims to have breached the Taiwanese firm Quanta Computer, one of the biggest hardware manufacturers in the world, making away with the blueprints of various Apple products.
In a message posted on the dark web, the group said Quanta refused to pay the ransom to reclaim their stolen data and as a result, the hackers had decided to extort Apple instead, according to the Record.
The REvil group posted 21 screenshots depicting MacBook schematics as proof for the infiltration and threatened to release new blueprints every day until either Apple or Quanta pay the demand.
“In order not to wait for the upcoming Apple presentations, today, we, the REvil group, will provide data on the upcoming releases of the company so beloved by many,” the hackers’ note said.
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“Tim Cook can say thank you Quanta. From our side, a lot of time has been devoted to solving this problem. Quanta has made it clear to use that it does not care about the data of its customers and employees, thereby allowing the publication and sale of all data we have.”
They also claimed to be negotiating with “several major brands” to sell this data, presumably many of Quanta Computer’s clients, while setting a 1 May deadline for Apple to “buy back” the confidential and personal data. Quanta Computer serves a handful of major companies including Microsoft and HP.
The announcement was made to coincide with the major Apple launch event in which the firm released a slew of new products. The ‘Spring Loaded’ event saw the company launch an M1-powered iMac with a 4.5K Retina display, a new iPad Pro also fitted with the M1 chip as well as purple iPhone 12 variants alongside other minor launches.
The highly active ransomware gang most recently targeted the Harris Federation academy trust of 48 schools based across London in the UK. This led to 37,000 students being locked out of their emails and coursework. Acer also fell victim to a record $50 million ransomware attack last month.
Its activities had previously led to the group generating more than $100 million in one year from extorting large businesses, including the infamous Travelex hack in January 2020. The REvil group has plans to raise its overall income to more than $2 billion over 2021.
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Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.